Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity Council Seeks Greater Representation in Bangladesh

- through Henry Oudin

Published on

At dhakatribune.com

The Bangladesh Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity Council has accused Bangladesh's ruling party of neglecting the country's religious minorities. This allegation was raised during a press conference entitled “Disparity in the budget of the Ministry of Religious Affairs”, held at the National Press Club on June 20.

In her prepared speech, Rana Dasgupta, the council's organizing secretary, pointed out that the proposed budget for the 2023-2024 financial year allocated only 6,4% to religious minority development, which showed a continued decline in allocations. . Dasgupta pointed out that religious minorities in Bangladesh have faced discrimination over the past five decades. He pointed out that a significant percentage of employees of the Hindu Kalyan Trust, which holds government funds for religious purposes, were Muslims and that a substantial part of the funds were used for Muslims.

“The government has previously compromised its integrity by complying with the demands of Hefazat-e Islam (an influential Islamic pressure group in Bangladesh) and allowed the printing of sectarian-related topics in children's schoolbooks. On the other hand, now (the government) lets the (Jamaat-e-Islami) hold a rally in the capital,” Dasgupta said. “(The government) says this is a strategy to secure and maintain its position in the corridors of power. We would like to say that the strategy is good, but what (the government) is doing is a ploy, which should never be part of politics. (BD News 24)

Dasgupta expressed fear that if the party that waged the liberation war neglected minorities and aligned itself with Hefazat and Jamaat - Bangladesh's largest Islamist political party - it would lead the country towards potential unrest. He said that communalism existed not only in the ruling party, but also in the administration, politics and society as a whole. According to Dasgupta, communalism has deeply penetrated the constitution.

During the press conference, the Bangladesh Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity Council presented several demands, including the transformation of Kalyan trusts of Hindu, Buddhist and Christian religions into foundations controlled by the leaders of these religions, the enactment of a law on the security of religious minorities, the establishment of a ministry of minorities and a national commission for religious minorities, the construction of model temples/pagodas/churches at the district and local levels, and the allocation of 50 billion takas ($460 million) in the budget for the development and welfare of religious minorities.

The event was chaired by the president of the organization, Neem Chandra Bhowmik, and in the presence, among others, of the members of the presidium Milan Kanti Datta and Bhikkhu Sunandapriya.

At ucanews.com

Earlier this month, religious minorities in Bangladesh raised concerns that the government was not working properly to prevent violence ahead of next year's elections. This was a response to the failure to implement pledges after the 2018 elections in the country.

Hemanta Corraya, secretary of the Bangladesh Christian Association, said: “The government's reluctance to help minorities in recent years has sparked our fear. He also said that promises made to members of minority religions “have not been implemented for the past four years”. (UCA News)

About 90% of Bangladesh's 160 million people are Muslim. About 8% are Hindus, while Buddhists make up 0,6% and Christianity 0,3% of the population. The majority of Buddhists in Bangladesh live in Chittagong (also called Chattogram), a region in southeastern Bangladesh, bordering the Bay of Bengal and close to neighboring Myanmar.

photo of author

Henry Oudin

Henry Oudin is a Buddhist scholar, spiritual adventurer and journalist. He is a passionate seeker of the depths of Buddhist wisdom, and travels regularly to learn more about Buddhism and spiritual cultures. By sharing his knowledge and life experiences on Buddhist News, Henry hopes to inspire others to embrace more spiritual and mindful ways of living.

Leave comments